Medial tibial stress syndrome, also known as shin splints, causes pain and tenderness in the front part of your shin. This pain commonly happens when running or taking part in a high-impact activity. Most shin splints go away on their own, but there are still good reasons to consult a podiatrist.
Common Causes of Shin Splints
If you have shin splints, you may experience pain or tenderness in the front of the lower legs over your shin or have swelling in your lower legs. Pain from shin splints may stop while doing activity then intensify once you are at rest. You can have either sharp pain or a dull throbbing pain in the shins.
There are many reasons why you may develop shin splints. This painful condition can be caused by the following:
- Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
- Having flat feet or overpronation
- Not warming up or cooling down when exercising
- Having weak ankles or hips
- Change in activity and intensity of workouts
Diagnosing and Treating Shin Splints
If you are experiencing pain in your shins, consult with a podiatrist for an evaluation. A podiatrist can do an exam to determine if the cause of your pain is from shin splints or another condition. Conditions such as tendonitis, sprains, strains, or a stress fracture can often be mistaken for shin splints. A ruptured Achilles tendon can also cause pain similar to a shin splint.
In addition to a physical exam, imaging tests such as an X-ray or a bone scan may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out another cause. Once the cause of the shin pain is determined, treatment options can be discussed.
Shin splints are often treated with conservative options such as rest, ice, or modifying your physical activity. Many shin splints go away on their own with time. In rare cases, shin splints can turn into a stress fracture of the bone. A podiatrist can recommend options to prevent this from occurring.
A podiatrist may recommend the following treatments to help with your shin splints:
Ice can be applied to your shin to help with swelling and pain.
An orthotic can be worn inside the shoe to help provide support to your arches which can help with shin splints.
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug may be used to help with pain and inflammation.
Rest and modifying your physical activity may be needed to help with healing and reducing shin splint pain.
Physical therapy can help stretch and strengthen muscles in your lower legs to help with shin splints.
Preventing Shin Splints
Shin splints can reoccur if you do not take the proper precautions. Some tips to consider to prevent shin splints include:
- Do not overexert yourself by running too much or doing long periods of high-impact activity.
- Have your running technique analyzed. The movement you do while running may be causing your shin splints. Making a change to your running style may decrease the chance of developing shin splints.
- Wear proper footwear when running or doing activities. Replace your shoes when you see signs of wear.
- Use orthotics in your shoes to support your arches and to prevent shin splint pain.
- Do lower impact activities that do not put strain on your shins. Activities such as swimming or walking are lower impact and can be increased gradually over time.
- If you notice an increase in your shin pain or are experiencing shin pain that does not go away, talk to a podiatrist for recommendations.
Do You Need The Help Of An Experienced and Caring Podiatrist? Contact Our El Paso Foot Doctor Today.
If you're experiencing any type of foot pain you should speak with an experienced podiatrist as soon as possible. Please contact us online to schedule your appoinment or call one of our convenient El Paso offices directly. To reach our Sierra Tower Building podiatrist office please call 915.533.5151. You can find driving directions here. To reach our George Dieter Drive podiatry office please call 915.856.3331. Driving directions are available here.